September 15, 2015

When truth is turned on its head

THE word truth has been subjected to severe battering by different people over time and ages. Each see it from his own perspective but this is not supposed to be so because truth is as it were is not subjected to any form of interpretations or colouring other than what it is. It is seen by everyone in the same manner, it is constant.

Truth says it as it sees and hears. It is objective, rational and not subject to whimsical calculations, otherwise, it will not be truth. Truth subjected to suppression will remain an open wound until corrective measures are applied. Truth is therefore the road to the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people, that is when everyone accepts it as it is. People are happy when truth is applied because truth is justice, equity, fairness and balance.

Bitter is the opposite of sweet. It is not sour. It is worse than sour. It has a strong pungent taste like bile in the mouth and leaves you cringing and uncomfortable. Bitterness is harsh to the mouth and makes one unhappy. Bitter is sadness. When people refuse to accept the truth it becomes bitter to them and because it is bitter to them they tend to turn away from it. The fact is, truth is the cause of conflicts all over the world. Anytime there is a conflict between two parties, one of the parties is not telling the truth because both of them cannot be right over a disputed issue and, there are many of such all over the world.

The fear of the truth is more prevalent in underdeveloped countries, especially in black Africa. According to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti of blessed memory, because we do not want to die, we fear to fight for justice and everything. In Nigeria, truth has been bastardised in all forms. It begins with the allocation of resources; everyone wants an advantage over the other. But such primordial quest have been taken care of by the developed nations through setting up of structures and institutions that check the excesses of man.

Man by nature, is subject to various excesses, irrespective of race and colour but with strong and effective institutions in place, such excesses are curtailed. Even at that, at the international level the developed countries have been known to turn truth on its head and that is why there is tension all over the world today.

They have not stopped at the secular level; some have even gone further to manipulate the Holy books to justify their own versions of truth. The Bible is being deliberately manipulated to justify the negative actions of man that is why we now have gay priests and so on. The Koran is also not left out given the different interpretations from the terrorists’ camps as causes of their actions.

Definitely the interpretation of the Koran by ISIL and Boko Haram is not the generally accepted one. The Sunnis and Shites are killing themselves in such brutal manners over simple interpretations of doctrines, that is the extent to which truth can be bastardised by man.

The people do not want the truth because of the discomfort it causes for the manipulators but without the truth, there can never be peace. According to Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio, conscience is an open wound and only the truth can heal it. Conscience is what keeps the world together. It is what makes man to remain on the right track and when conscience is absent in a nation, the whole nation is dead as typified by present Afghanistan. If the world is to end today as a result of conflicts between people and nations, it will be as a result of the absence of truth, as without truth, there can never be peace. Therefore, a nation that is desirous of peace and progress must crave and demand for truth from its leaders; that is the responsibility of its citizenry.

In Nigeria, this is very obvious as the leadership is surfeited with liars. It has been the tradition since 1999 and a nation of lying leaders cannot make progress. The case is worse when the followers are been brainwashed to believe these lies, so you find common folks fighting amongst themselves over lies told by the leaders and if you probe further, you will find that they are divided along ethnic lines. It is true because my brother or townsman is the leader and lie because the leader is not from our place of origin.

When people set standards for themselves, the truth is bitter but it is for the common good and people must adhere to it. For us to move forward as a nation we must accept the truth.

It is true that the ordinary Nigerian is gullible to lies told by our politicians, no exception. It is true that the forces behind Jonathan were too big for his control since he had no political structure on ground. It is true that the people were dissatisfied with Jonathan’s performance in government and that is why they voted him out. It is true that the economy is badly battered and corruption was out of control, which is why they voted for Buhari.

It is true that abinitio the government of Jonathan was programmed for sabotage, not everybody accepted him.  It is also true that the present gain in electricity and petrol supply is to the credit of the foundation laid by Jonathan’s government. It is also true that as Buhari’s body language is saying action against corruption, Jonathan’s body language was passive on corruption. It is true that people voted Buhari in and Jonathan out to rid the country of corruption. It is also true that the United States and allies did not offer support to Jonathan in his fight against Boko Haram.

It is true that our neighbouring countries support for the Boko Haram fight was initially lukewarm. It is true that the institutions and structures to move the nation forward have broken down. It is true that revenue from oil has dwindled drastically. It is also true that if Jonathan was from a majority tribe in Nigeria, he would not be so hounded out of office and power the way it was done. The truths are so many but we do not want it because we want only our own version to be heard. That is how difficult and bitter truth is, that is why people run away from it.

So, let us stop running a government of propaganda. Let us run a government based on  truth. Let us get governance going and stop politicking, the task ahead is heavy.

Mr. Sunny Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.